7M Americans Live in Possible Primary Care Shortage Areas

Written by Heather Punke | February 21, 2013
About seven million people could be drastically affected by primary
care physician shortages after the Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act expands insurance coverage next year, according to a new study
in Health Affairs.

The expansion of insurance coverage will raise demand for
primary care physicians across the country and exacerbate the growing
physician shortage, but some regions will be hit harder than others.

According to the study, about 44 million Americans live in areas where the
estimated increase in demand for primary care is greater than 5 percent
of current supply. Further, seven million people live in areas where
demand will likely be 10 percent greater than the current supply after
insurance coverage expansion.

The states with the largest projected demand increases, and therefore the states most likely to have
dire physician shortages, are:

•    Texas
•    Mississippi
•    Nevada
•    Idaho
•    Oklahoma

The study’s authors are Elbert Huang, MD, associate professor of medicine
at the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, and
Kenneth Finegold, PhD, social science analyst in the Division of Health
Care Financing Policy, part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for
Planning and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services.